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Manual Therapy VS. Massage

Manual Therapy VS. Massage, What’s The Difference?

At first glance it is easy to mistake manual therapy for a massage.  However, there are significant differences between these two treatment methods. It is important for you to be able to understand these differences, in order to pick the appropriate treatment method.


You most likely think of a massage then instantly think of laying on a table of a spa. A massage is the use of rhythmically applied pressure to the skin and soft tissues of the body.  Massage is used to reduce tension, anxiety, stress, and promote overall circulation, relaxation, and flexibility.

Manual Therapy:

Manual therapy is the application of hands-on techniques to body tissues with intent to therapeutically assess and treat.  Through proper assessment of the involved body structures, a physical therapist can utilize manual therapy techniques to enhance your healing process and correct positional faults of your irritated tissues.  Some manual therapy techniques utilized by physical therapist include soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, strain-counter strain, muscle energy techniques, joint mobilizations and manipulations, and mobilization with movement.  Manual therapy can be utilized to assess dysfunction, increase joint range of motion, decrease pain, and improve healing.

Both massage and manual therapy can be utilized as part of a plan to promote an individual’s overall health and wellness.  However, the education and skill level needed to practice manual therapy is much more comprehensive. 

Physical Therapists are highly educated health care providers that receive extensive instruction on the use of manual therapy techniques to both evaluate and treat patients.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center our physical therapists use manual therapy with their patients to get them the results they need to return to their daily activities while reducing their pain. Call us today at 703-450-4300 to schedule your evaluation and let us help you get relief from your pain and improve your joint motion through manual therapy techniques, and get back to doing what you love.

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Loudoun Sports Therapy Center – Physical Therapy that gets RESULTS!

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